Reminiscences of the Daniel Family for Five Generations
By William Henry Daniel
My great grandfather, John Daniel, was a native of Scotland. He served in the Revolutionary War under Washington, as major general and was noted for his bravery and military work. He lived in Virginia.
My grandfather, John Daniel, was a native of Virginia. He was a man of sterling ability of the old stock.
My father, John Daniel (namesake of two generations) was born October 1, 1793 in Albermarle County, Virginia. He was married to my mother, Mary Keen, in 1816, soon after their marriage they immigrated by ox team over the Virginia Mountains, by the way of the old immigrant salt works road to Tennessee, near Knoxville. After remaining there four years they again immigrated by ox team over the Cumberland Mountains, by the noted route of the Cumberland Gap Trail, crossing the Cumberland River into Kentucky and settled in Monroe County, near the Cumberland River, where father bought 400 acres of good bottom land for what was then considered a fair price for land, $500.00. He erected good substantial buildings, which, for that time and location were among the best.
My father was very active in the days of the Whig and Democratic parties. He was an ardent Whig and was elected and served many years as judge and sheriff of Monroe County. The Whig candidates in their campaigns sought his influence to secure their election.
My father was a great admirer of William Henry Harrison, the Whig president so much so that he named me William Henry after him.
My father had three brothers, Zachariah, Ruben and Marmaduke. Uncle Zach was a noted surveyor of land in the early settlement of Kentucky. A great deal of dispute arose over the boundary lines in those days, and he was often called into court to help establish the lines between the land owners, as there were no section lines to go by and the meets and bounds of their land was laid out by natural boundary lines of rivers, creeks, and timbers, therefore the lines were irregular.
Uncle Marmaduke drifted into the Cherokee Nation and there accumulated a vast fortune in land.
My father's sister Nancy lived to an old age and was never married. She was an ardent Christian worker of the Methodist faith.
My mother, Mary Keen, was born March 20th, 1793, in Albermarle County, Virginia. The Keen family was noted for professional men. There were three lawyers and four preachers in mother's family of the old Virginia stock. Most of the Keen family immigrated to Kentucky about the time my father and mother came, forming a settlement nearby.
Mother's oldest brother, Abner, was a talented minister and presiding elder in the Methodist church for over sixty years. He immigrated when a young man to Texas and built the first house in Dallas. His farewell sermon was preached at the age of eighty-seven years in Dallas. He was then entirely blind.
Another brother, John Keen, was a wealthy slave owner in Kentucky. There were ten children in father's family, seven boys and three girls.
My eldest brother, named Winford Daniel, was born September 16th, 1817. He held the position of colonel in the muster roll of the county and was a union captain in the Civil War. He died March 1881 at the age of 64 years. While a captain and recruiting officer in the Union army at Columbia, Kentucky some forty miles from his home, when at home on one occasion, a part of Bragg's Southern army, seeking to capture him at his home surrounded his house, but he had just left an hour before. They then determined to burn the house. His wife prevailed on them, but in vain. They offered a compromise with her, that if she would give them one of her feather beds put in a closet so they might set fire to it, they would then help her get all her things out of the house. On setting fire to the feather bed, they immediately brought their mountain horses up to the door and loaded the contents of all her household goods on their horses and rode away.
John Harrison Daniel, born January 7, 1819, was considered the best penman in that part of the country, and taught penmanship for years. He died in May 1883, at the age of 64 years.
Elihu Daniel, born May 28, 1821, was county sheriff and was a bright and promising young man. He died November 4, 1847 at the age of 26 years.
Elizabeth Corcoran-Daniel, born December 2, 1822, died at Dallas, Texas July 1853 at the age of 31 years.
Malinda Wilborn-Daniel born May 17, 1924 and died October 1902 at the age of 78 years.
Mary C. Dickerson-Daniel was born May 9, 1828 and died April 20, 1894 at the age of 71 years.
Norris Daniel was born December 7, 1829 and died in September 1857 at the age of 28 years.
Richard Daniel was born August 7, 1832, taught school and was a doctor of medicine, and died May 22, 1862 at the age of 30 years.
Abner Newton Daniel and myself, William Henry Daniel, twins, born July 28, 1837 at Sulphur Lick, Kentucky. Brother Newton taught school and afterwards became a minister of the gospel in the Church of Christ. He died in December, 1916.
My father and mother lived in the old Kentucky home until their death and the home remained in the family for over a hundred years.
My father and mother were religiously inclined. I recall the time of their conversion when I was a small boy, under the preaching of Samuel Dewitt and John N. Pendergast of the Christian Church. During the revival meeting in the church house these two ministers announced a special meeting one night at my father's home. My twin brother Newton and myself were put on horses and sent over the neighborhood to invite the people in. Our large house was filled and an eloquent gospel sermon was preached by elder Dewitt on 'What shall I do to be saved' and was followed by elder Pendergast with a stirring appeal to gospel obedience. They sang the familiar hymn, 'On Jordans stormy banks I stand, Oh who will come and go with me, I am bound for the promised land, Oh who will come and go with me'. When father arose and said 'I will come and go with you.' Then mother followed, after which came my brother Winford and brother Harrison and my sisters Malinda and Caroline, seven in all. Next day they were baptized in a running stream; it was in the winter. Father and mother lived consistent Christian lives and died happy deaths in the faith of the Lord. At father's death on August 13, 1853, he called us children to his bedside bidding us farewell, saying 'Children, obey the gospel and live Christian lives and meet me over there in the sweet by and by.' My mother died February 9, 1876 at the age of 83 in the blessed assurance of eternal salvation.
My early boyhood was spent on the farm. I taught school several years, was a drummer for a Louisville tobacco house for a few years, also traveled selling machinery, etc., ran a general store for a while, and was appointed postmaster at Nabob, Kentucky by Abraham Lincoln, holding the position for five years.
I was married to Permelia J. Hutchens October 23, 1860, at my wife's home in Summershade, Kentucky, Preacher Dewitt performing the ceremony at 3 P.M., after which a sumptuous dinner was served to about 75 guests, representing the best and foremost families in that part of the state.
After living in Kentucky for eighteen years after we were married, we concluded to go West where we could have better advantages for our family and in search of a better climate for my wife's health. We left Glasgow, Kentucky October 10, 1878, when I was 41 years old, for the Golden State, California. That was considered a big undertaking to go so far west at that time. We traveled on the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railway by St. Louis, Omaha, Salt Lake, on to Sacramento, taking ten days to make the journey. We traveled on what was called the immigrant train, there being no Pullmans at that time, and passengers had their own bedding and seats were turned down for beds.
We located near Woodland, California, farming there for one year, after which my wife's health had improved so much we decided to make another move to get more advantages for our growing boys, the oldest, Richard, being 18 years. A copy of the Spokane Times edited by Francis Cook, was handed to me one day by someone who had just come from Spokane village. It gave a glowing account of that country and I was then induced to try my fortune in the far North, Washington Territory.
We left Woodland August 20, 1879, with several other families with our covered immigrant wagons which made a train of a dozen or more. We endured many hardships on the way on account of the bad roads, and the frights we received from the Indians, however none of us were molested by the Indians.
We has two wagons and teams, one driven by myself and the other by my oldest boy who was quite a help to me by his inquiring mind and in a business way.
The immigrants began to leave us in the northern part of Oregon and in the Walla Walla country, only our wagons coming on to the Spokane country.
We left the Sacramento Valley at Red Bluff and came through the Goose Lake country, over the mountains into Pineville, Oregon, through central Oregon through the Pendelton country, thence over the Palouse hills into Cheney, settling on a homestead near Meadow Lake, and we have never regretted the change.
I.N. Peyton had a small store at Meadow Lake then. We lived on a good farm there for 21 years, then sold and moved to Spokane to live seventeen years ago, having now lived in this territory and state for thirty-eight years, most of the time farming and stock raising. When we settled here, Spokane was a small village. I recall in November 1879 I was in the land office in Spokane (Nosler, I think was the agent) to file on my land and met up with James Glover who had a store here then. He found on inquiring that I had a large family and tried to induce me to come to Spokane and take up a homestead here and help them in the school. He said they would help me to take up a homestead on what is now Havermale Island, but I told him I had come to get a good farm and I could not see much of a chance on those rocks.
Lots of the time we could have bought on Riverside for $400.00. There was not a house on the north side of the river and not many on the south side, so I have seen the growth from a village to a large city, and think it was done mostly through the efforts of such men as Drumhiller, Cannon, Brown, Hydes, Peyton, Glover, my son R.T. Daniel, and others, by their zeal and push at all times and under all circumstances never faltered.
The big fire in 1899 which destroyed most of the city, paved the way for a more substantial city which rose from the ashes.
The fight over the county seat between Spokane and Cheney was a hot contest and very amusing. Billy Bishop was clerk and believed that Cheney had won by 80 votes, so a plot was planned by Cheney one night to steal the county seat, so two or three buggies were sent to Spokane one night and Billy the clerk and the court records were loaded in and taken to Cheney and the next morning Spokane was full of wrath. Francis Cook, editor of the Times, came out wit large headlines, charging the ones who did it as being thieves, rogues, rascals, etc. Spokane soon had another vote and easily won and down they went and brought the county seat back where it has remained ever since.
The early pioneers had a pretty hard time of it as they were so far from market. We had to go to Colfax to mill and about 80 miles to the county seat which was at Colville.
I have lived a quiet life since coming to Spokane, devoting my spare time to caring for my lawn, garden, etc., and am doing what I can for the church and temperance cause, realizing that as I have passed the allotted time of three score years and ten, that I can not do as much more as I would like, only hoping that I may be spared to see the carnal sword replaced by the spiritual sword, and war cease and peace be restored among all nations, that the unity of the spirit of all nations be kept in the bond of peace.
N. 1320 Lincoln St.
November 12, 1917
Submitted by: Ginny Daniel Henley